Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Belgium's hidden treasure

I may have not yet found the fashionable Belgian moms, but today I certainly discovered one of Belgium's hidden treasures: the district parks. There is a total of seven in the country: two in the French-speaking part of the country (in Hélécine and Bois de Rêves) and four in the Flemish-speaking part (in Huizingen, Kessel-Lo, Halve Maan Diest, and Het Vinne Zoutleeuw).

Do not be fooled by the simple name. They are vast parks with original playing areas suited for kids of all ages. In some, like the one we went today in Kessel-Lo, there is even a pool and a lake. The park reminded a bit of the Centre de la nature in Laval, Quebec, close to where we live in Canada. We spent just the afternoon in Kessel-Lo, but we could have easily made it a day trip, including perhaps a lunch picnic.

You will not find Belgium's district parks mentioned in any tourist guide and even the locals may not be aware of them (my husband, who is Belgian and grew up in a nearby town, had never been there before today). But If you are in an area where there is one nearby, this is one of the best ways to spend one or more sunny days (if you are lucky with the weather -- this is rainy Belgium, after all) with your kids.

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